Teens have a hard enough time handling the stress and peer pressure of high school to look skinny and imitate impossible standards of beauty. Those who don’t look like Hollywood models are often sneered at, leading to depression and even eating disorders in both the popular and unpopular crowd. High schoolers don’t need TV characters to further glorify food culture, but Michel does take calorie counting very seriously throughout the series.
However, Michel makes statements such as, “I only eat 1,500 calories a day.” Rather than addressing the dangers of eating disorders with this behavior, the characters portray it as whimsical rather than a real problem. As a result, teens watching the show might turn on themselves participate in this behavior, adding to an already widespread problem — especially in the wee hours of the morning when the series first aired.
But Michel isn’t the only character showing up with eating habits. While frequenting endless unhealthy food stalls, Lorelai and Rory still manage to stay skinny without a workout or a single vegetable. Once again, this means that teens observing an unhealthy relationship with food can lead to behaviors like induced vomiting after eating if they don’t get the same results as Rory and Lorelai – fictional characters who don’t actually eat that way. The show often pokes fun at this Gilmore “quirk” without ever realizing the impact it can have on viewers.
If you are struggling with an eating disorder, or know someone who is, help is available. Visit the National Eating Disorders Association website or contact NEDA’s Live Helpline at 1-800-931-2237. You can also get 24/7 Crisis Support via SMS (send NEDA to 741-741).